To the Editor,
The article from Canwest News Service on Nov. 17: "Commons tries to get food firms to lower salt content," is revealing in more than one way. One revelation is why we continue to send such brain-dead people to Ottawa, supposedly to act in our behalf, and another is what they are going to substitute the salt with.
Cereal is sold by weight, not volume. If a cereal company manufactures, say, 100 tonnes of a product, it usually contains about 30 per cent salt, nearly as much sugar, and a little bit of what it is supposed to be in the first place.
Impatient politicians insisting that the cereal companies are taking too long to solve the problem don't understand that if the company expects to sell their 100 tonnes of product for an established price, who is going to make up the shortfall when the salt content is reduced to, say, 20 per cent and the original weight is reduced to 80 per cent?
In effect, at the same weight per package, which is now short by 20 per cent of its original ingredients (and salt is heavy stuff), what will be used to make up the 20 per cent of lost weight?
One reason why so much salt is used, and overused, in most all processed food is because it is cheap to buy. In order to substitute something else to maintain the original weight, it either has to be equally as inexpensive, or the price has to be increased. To suggest that the food companies absorb the loss is ludicrous.
Should the producers be successful in reducing the salt, there will be an immediate advertising campaign promoting the health benefits of the new product, and the price will go up anyway. And last of all, what if the consumer no longer cares for the new flavour of the product and buys something else?
You guessed it - back to square one, and by that time we should see a new crop of MPs to once again ponder the question.
And the beat goes on.
John G. McKay, Amherst